Newspaper review: Co-op chaos, Python and puns

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Media captionFinancial analyst Louise Cooper and Michael Booker, deputy editor of the Express, cast their eyes over Wednesday's papers for the BBC News Channel.

Several front pages feature the latest developments in the case of ex-Co-op Bank boss Paul Flowers, who quit after apparently being filmed trying to buy cocaine.

The Daily Mirror reports Mr Flowers' 2011 resignation as a Labour councillor, having been found to have adult content on his laptop. But the Daily Mail focuses on the political implications, questioning how much Labour leaders knew of Mr Flowers' past and asking why the Co-op group was not informed.

Reviewing the papers for the BBC News Channel, Express deputy editor Michael Booker said: "It's politically helpful to the Conservatives to play this up." Financial analyst Louise Cooper added: "I don't think... it's up to the Labour party who's fired but I imagine that information should have got transferred to the head of the Co-op."

The Financial Times also focuses on the politics, reporting Conservative criticism of Labour leader Ed Miliband's connections to Mr Flowers and donations to his party from the Co-op group. However, it quotes ex-Labour City Minister Lord Myners asking why the coalition appeared to back a "weak institution" like the Co-op Bank's bid to buy Lloyds bank branches.

The Times says that - given Mr Flowers' lack of experience in banking - the failure of corporate governance that led to his appointment was "as shocking a story of incompetence at the highest levels of British banking as has been seen since the financial crash". It notes that the woman elevated to head of the Co-op group on Tuesday was one of the directors who approved Mr Flowers' appointment.

Chris Blackhurst, in the Independent, reckons the problem with top banking jobs is that finding anyone "qualified and untainted in any way by events of the past five years" is difficult. Meanwhile, Mirror business editor Graham Hiscott reflects on how the Co-op's proud history has been put at risk.

Lies and statistics

Suggestions that police forces have been "fiddling" crime statistics make the front page of the Times. It reports that one officer told MPs the Met had been "under-recording rape and other serious sexual crimes by between 22 and 25%.

The Daily Mail produces a helpful glossary of slang police use to describe how crimes "disappear", including "stitching" - charging a suspect despite little evidence, thus allowing officers to record a crime as detected - and "cuffing", which means downgrading offences in crime records to make them look less serious.

"The most shocking thing... is that not many people will be shocked," concludes the Daily Express in a leader column entitled "Public faith in the crime figures hits rock bottom".

Pun-fortunate result

England's footballers may have lost to Germany at Wembley but at least it gave the headline writers a bit of fun, especially as Per Mertesacker scored the winner.

"It's all gone Per-shaped," notes the Daily Star... and the Express... and the Sun, which describes the situation as having gone from "bad to wurst". The Independent tries a variation on a theme, noting that the Germans won "as Per usual".

But while the Telegraph - "Second class" - and Mail - "Second rate" - try hard to acknowledge England's first back-to-back defeats at Wembley for 36 years, the Mirror gets the prize for invention with its Fawlty Towers reference: "Don't mention the score."

Completely different?

Speaking of John Cleese, the Sun follows up its revelations that the Monty Python team are to reunite by hearing from one of the comics - Terry Jones - who says: "I hope it makes us a lot of money. I hope to pay off my mortgage."

Fellow comedian Bill Bailey is among those fans excited by the news, writing in the Guardian that it's "like the prospect of a great band getting back together; they're the ultimate comic supergroup. The Led Zeppelin of comedy".

Dominic Cavendish, in the Telegraph, agrees it's "looking like the comic event of a lifetime".

However, it strikes "terror" into his colleague Glenda Cooper, who recalls "generations of women... trapped in the corner of bars while drunken second-year male chemistry students recited the Four Yorkshiremen sketch interminably".

Meanwhile, Paul Scott in the Daily Mail refers to "unvarnished loathing" between some of the members and concludes there's only one reason for the "poisonous Pythons" to get back together - "cold hard cash".

Conservative image

The Daily Telegraph splashes on comments from Conservative planning minister Nick Boles that some young people will not consider voting for the party because they think it represents only "rich people" and is comprised of "aliens from another planet".

His suggestion of reviving the National Liberal Party, which was merged into the Conservative Party in 1968, and standing on a joint-ticket has been slapped down by Tory HQ. But the Independent's Ian Birrell sees it as astute, offering a chance to build coalitions before an election: "The idea reflects the digital age and obvious breakdown in political discipline, with MPs increasingly loyal to constituents over party."

Meanwhile, the Guardian's comment sees the "spectre of electoral defeat" hanging over the Conservatives as they win little credit for promoting economic growth. "Part of the problem... is simply that they are ceasing to be a national party," it says, pointing out a recent poll in which 72% of northerners said Conservatives did not understand their area.

Selfie obsession

Having had 24 hours to digest news that "selfie" had seen off competition from "twerking" and "binge-watch" to be named Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year, the columnists and cartoonists give their take on the term.

Matt, on the Telegraph's front page, sketches a nurse taking a mobile phone photo of herself, while telling a doctor: "We don't have enough nurses, so I'm sending the patients a 'selfie'." Inside, the paper highlights a "shining example" of the snap, involving a photographer who by chance recorded a meteor explosion along with a portrait of himself and a friend.

But for Frances Wilson, in the Mail, the craze "perfectly captures our shallow culture", while the Independent's Grace Dent suspects people take selfies to prevent them having to think about "things like death and unpacking the dishwasher". By 2023, she reckons, "the happiest people will live several days a week away from their phones".

Express features editor Fergus Kelly dislikes the term for its Antipodean roots: "Diminutives such as 'lippy' for lipstick and 'rellie' for relative are a particular bugbear of mine, for which the blame would appear to lie squarely with the pre-eminence in recent decades of Australian popular culture in music and on TV. It's very tiresome-y."